Former Cleveland Police Authority chairman speaks of his 'horrendous year' after being cleared of intimidating a witness

Darlington and Stockton Times: Former Cleveland Police Authority chairman Dave McLuckie Former Cleveland Police Authority chairman Dave McLuckie

A FORMER police boss who has been cleared of intimidating a witness has spoken of his "horrendous year" after facing two trials within months.

Dave McLuckie had been accused of using veiled threats to warn off Peter Blyth from giving evidence against him in a police corruption investigation.

Over three days, Newcastle Crown Court heard how the former chairman of Cleveland Police Authority visited his former friend on two occasions to tryto glean information from him about his up-coming perverting the course of justice trial.

The jury took two hours to reach its unanimous not guilty verdicts for witness intimidation and an alternative charge of attempting to intimidate a witness.

Speaking outside the court, a relieved McLuckie said: "I'm absolutely delighted that the jury came to the decision that they did and I would like to thank them for that.

"This has been a particularly horrendous year for me and my family. I'm glad it's over on this occasion and what I want to do now is go back home, have a night out with my family and have a good Christmas."

Talking about the case against him, he added: "It did come to trial and my thoughts on that are that I had another ordeal to go through for something I believed I hadn't done. It has been proved that I haven't done it and it has been recognised that I haven't done it and I'm delighted today."

The 52-year-old, of Linden Grove, Great Ayton, North Yorkshire, had told jurors he only went to see his friend to warn him that police had been told he was working as an unlicensed taxi driver.

McLuckie told the jury that he hoped to be able to get information from Mr Blyth after showing him documentary proof that Nancy Ward had named him during the collection of evidence in his trial for perverting the course of justice.

However, the prosecution had alleged that the former Redcar and Cleveland Borough councillor had called at the house to intimidate Mr Blyth to stop him giving evidence in the corruption investigation.

Jurors heard the mood changed after McLuckie became agitated when he learned Mr Blyth had given a statement to officers from Operation Sacristy, an ongoing investigation into allegations of corruption involving people with past associations with Cleveland Police.

The court had heard that McLuckie was convicted of perverting justice in the summer. Jurors were not told that he was sentenced to eight months in jail in July for the offence.

He is still on bail after he was put under investigation with others, including former Chief Constable Sean Price, as part of Operation Sacristy.

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